The story of how I became a ReefBum began when I was growing up.  My father kept large saltwater fish only tanks during a time when coral reef tanks were not a viable option for hobbyists. I fondly remember accompanying him to fish stores to check out and purchase fish for his tank. My mom essentially tolerated the hobby so she let my dad do his thing, although she would protest every now and then about wanting to get her living room back.


One day my dad had this great idea to go out and buy a ribbon eel. Eels have a reputation as escape artists so my dad did his due diligence and “eel proofed” the tank. Despite my dad’s best efforts, that eel found some way to get out of the tank and ended up dead on the living room floor. Of course it was discovered by my poor mom, who nearly jumped through the ceiling. That eel also traumatized my sister since it took a few days to find…..she was petrified that it would crawl into her bed while it was MIA.


Not to be deterred, my father tried again with a beautiful chocolate brown Zebra Moray eel. That eel escaped as well and was found on the floor, stiff and covered with dog hair. He plunked it back into the tank and it somehow survived and went on to live a long and healthy life.


Zebra Moray Eel

Zebra Moray Eel


Those episode almost ended my father’s fish keeping days but he was able to assure my mom that all livestock would remain in the tank. Unfortunately, some fish in that tank went carpet surfing as well so my mom bit her upper lip and let him keep the tank. She could see he had a passion and that passion, or maybe it was an obsession, was passed along to me.


My first fish tank was a two gallon aquarium I purchased to house a gold fish. My future wife and I visited the San Gennaro festival, New York City’s oldest and largest street fair that runs for two weeks in Little Italy, and proceeded to eat, drink and be merry. Along the way I was encouraged to play one of those carnival games in which you try and throw a ping pong ball into a gold fish bowl to win a gold fish.


I had no desire to win and keep a gold fish but I caved to pressure from my future wife to play. Hey, these games are rigged and nobody ever wins….right? Wrong. I won that gold fish at some ungodly hour that night and early the next morning I awoke and realized I had to go out and find it a suitable home. I didn’t know anything about keeping a gold fish but I found a pet shop that sold me the two gallon tank, some supplies and gave me advice on what to do. Well, that fish didn’t survive too long but at that point I was hooked.


Next up was a 29 gallon fresh water tank in which I kept live plants, Congo Tetras plus other miscellaneous fish. I was intrigued by the beauty of these live plants and how they grew and made the tank look so natural. It was like art. This was back in the early nineties and at that point certain advancements had made it much easier to keep reef tanks in the home. I was intrigued and bought a bunch of books to read up on how to keep this type of tank.


I ended up buying a 90 gallon tank and have been a ReefBum to this day. And the best part is that my wife has never found anything on our living room floor. I think our dogs have beat her to the punch!


You can visit the About section of for more information about me and my company.  


If you are looking for additional insights and information, please explore my many other reef tank and SPS related articles as well as my book, A ReefBum’s Guide To Keeping an SPS Reef Tank: A Blueprint For Success. And you can see all of my reef tank videos online now as well as my Live HD Webcam.


Happy reef keeping!